Faced with a steep fine, Bell, who became the first player to average 100 yards rushing and 50 receiving per game last season, reported less than a week before the opener and signed his $12.1 million franchise tag after failing to come to agreement on a long-term deal.
He gained only 17 yards on his first nine carries before ripping off a 15-yarder with 2:28 left, and the Steelers were able to run out the clock after the Browns burned their last timeout challenging Brown’s 38-yard reception.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin defended Bell’s lackluster performance, laying the blame on Pittsburgh being in long-yardage situations.
“Obviously, there are some drives that we are proud of and that we are headed in the right direction on, but there were also some lulls within the game that we have to try to cut back on,” said Kizer, the 27th QB to start for Cleveland since 1999.
ODDS AND ENDS: Roethlisberger moved past Fran Tarkenton into ninth place in NFL history with 47,077 yards passing.
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